Art awakenings
New exhibits at galleries in Hoboken, Jersey City
by Carlo Davis
Reporter staff writer
Jul 27, 2014 | 4535 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EGGSPECTING SOMETHING—Frank Pariso’s illustrations, like this one of a boy contemplating an egg, evoke entire stories within a single frame.
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When French photographer Fabrice Silly came to Hoboken, he only managed to take three pictures. It wasn’t for lack of subject matter. Silly’s photographs of Hoboken’s train terminal and waterfront, printed on aluminum, are equally striking in their beauty and their profound emptiness. Instead, Silly couldn’t stay in one place long enough to complete his exposures without being shooed away by the police.

Now Silly has a spot in Hoboken no cop can challenge. His photograph of the Hoboken Terminal waiting room, along with another of the New York skyline behind the Brooklyn Bridge, is currently on display at Barsky Gallery at 49 Harrison St.

Barsky Gallery represents and displays the work of 13 artists from around the world. Even Roman Lystvak, an abstract painter who lives in Leonia, is originally from Ukraine. The gallery specializes in “serious” art for the walls of Hoboken’s wealthy homeowners and offices. The gallery even currently features a Smart Home Technology Simulator designed by 360 Media Innovations, complete with a retracting painting that reveals a flat screen TV.

Al Barsky, a 15-year resident of Hoboken, left a career in marketing three years ago to pursue his dream of collecting and selling art full-time. He said there was one other commercial gallery in the city when he opened. It has since closed, making Barsky Gallery possibly the oldest gallery in town.

The Barsky Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. More information can be found at

One door down from Barsky, Paul Vincent Gallery is showing art by two Jersey City-based artists, Robert Piersanti and Michael Meadors. Piersanti makes his modern pin-ups by taking photographs of women he knows and painting them over with acrylic paint. Drenched in pastel colors, these pop art icons burst with life and character.

Meadors’ solo show “Replicants” is a meditation on digital reproduction that borders on whimsy. In his pieces, the same hand-drawn image of a male model from an H&M ad is copied over and over, each time with a new adornment—a scrap of fabric, an section of newsprint, an oversized shirt. In his artist statement, Meadors says his “mutated clones are individualized into their own unique brands through the addition of collage, becoming custom products for discerning consumers.”

Joe Gilmore and Frank Pariso are sharing the space at hob’art co-operative gallery in the Monroe Center of the Arts, 720 Monroe St., until Aug. 2. Gallery members of the collective put on shows two at a time throughout the year. For their joint show, Gilmore and Pariso have chosen the title “Narratives,” which they say encapsulates “a whimsical display of story-telling through descriptive imagery.”

Pariso’s paintings and drawings look like classical Old Master paintings but depict little that has ever been seen in real life (he calls his work “imaginative realism”). Snake-headed women, shark-toothed frogs and dinosaurs loom on his canvases, evoking epic tales through a single framed moment. Pariso is an illustrator based in New Jersey.

Gilmore’s work is more abstract, using paint and mixed media in bold strokes to create striking portraits. His work includes pairs of shoes coated in vibrant acrylic paint.

The hob’art co-operative gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday. It is located on the second floor of the Monroe Center in room E208. More information can be found at

Other shows in Hoboken

On Aug. 3, the Hoboken Historical Museum will reopen with a new art exhibit featuring works by Tracie Fracasso. Fracasso layers two-dimensional images within a three-dimensional space behind a glass front. Unlike the found art assemblages of Joseph Cornell or Betye Saar, Fracasso fills her spaces with painted and drawn objects. The result is part shadowbox, part diorama, and all her own – Fracasso half-jokingly calls her work “two-and-a-half dimensional art.”

Though some of the artworks address current political issues, others are cut straight from Fracasso’s childhood in Bayonne and Jersey City. In “Long Neck on the Garden State Parkway Coming Back from LaDu’s,” a revving motorcycle soars imaginatively in front of a Victorian battlefield. Fracasso has lived in Hoboken for 20 years. She runs a studio in the city and teaches art as an adjunct professor at Kean University.

Fracasso’s exhibit will be located in the Upper Gallery of the museum at 1300 Hudson St. inside the Shipyard building. The museum is open from 2 to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Fridays, and from noon to 5 p.m. on weekends. The Fracasso exhibit runs until Sept. 14. More information can be found at

Jersey City

This past Tuesday, JC MADE debuted a new exhibition of artworks by local artist Liz Defrain. The show will last for 60 days at the antique store and gallery on 295 Grove St. in Jersey City.

Defrain was born in Cambridge, Ontario and lived in Bermuda, Florida, and New York City before settling in downtown Jersey City. She makes illustrations and paintings using a variety of materials, including gouache, watercolor, chalk, spray paint, and gesso. More information about her work can be found by visiting or calling(201) 685-7432.

Also in Jersey City, Victory Hall Drawing Rooms is hosting “There To Here: Nine Artists’ Personal Cultural Odysseys” until Aug. 17. The exhibition tells the story of nine artists’ personal journeys from diverse origins and backgrounds to the New York metropolitan area through drawings, paintings, video and animation.

The exhibit includes exquisite wood-block prints and a painted mural by Taiwo DuVall, who uses his art to recall an upbringing in Washington, D.C. and life in Harlem. Kyung Jeon, another featured artist, uses traditional Korean folk painting as a base to challenge the stereotypes of feminism.

Victory Hall Drawing Rooms is located at 180 Grand St. in Jersey City. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, PROMPT, a group exhibition of five contemporary painters who all employ abstract techniques, will end its run today at Proto Gallery at 66 Willow Ave. in Hoboken. The artists in display are Jessica Bottalico, Jen Hitchings, Legada, JJ Miyaoka-Pakola, and Shawn Powell.

The gallery says that the works featured in PROMPT are “both immediate and subtle, with recognizable objects and scenes emerging from purely abstract uses of collage, color, and pattern.”

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Parking is free in the Neumann Leathers lot at 333 Newark St., one block from the gallery. For more information, call (201) 706-8337.

Carlo Davis may be reached at

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